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It’s All Over July 19, 2008

Posted by Mitch in General.
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Well, that’s it folks. Teaching is officially over. OK, so my contract is still valid until 5th August, but yesterday was my last day at school. Ever. They asked that I go in on 4th August, as it’s my last day in Kuga to say a final goodbye. But it’s finished. And I’m not sure how I feel.

I’m happy, because the job has driven me insane. But, despite the boredom, it has been my life for a year and a year is a long time and I’ve fallen in the routine. And I’ve met a lot of great people in Japan, who I’ll be sad to say goodbye to. But life moves on and I have to too, so bring it on, future.

On Thursday evening I had my final work party. They’re called enkai and, as far as I’ve been told, that translates as ‘drinking party’. The Japanese do love to drink, as noted in previous entries but, bless ’em, they can’t hold their drink. At all.

The party took place in a big hotel in Iwakuni, overlooking the Kintai Bridge (the only thing of interest in the city). The big banquet hall was reserved for us and the room was traditionally (but garishly) decorated. The food was good, including fish caught in the river that runs outside the hotel. In fact, there’s a show that goes on around about now, where you can watch Japanese fishermen using cormorants to help them catch the fish. The cormorants wear some kind of collar or something that prevents them from swallowing the fish that they catch. Apparently it’s quite a stunning show, so maybe my parents and I will give that a go.

Talking about my parents, having just checked the Narita Airport website, I can confirm that they are officially on Japanese soil. Now all they have to do is make the 9 hour train journey down to my end of the country. All hitches aside, they should be here by about 7:30pm tonight.

Yesterday was also my final speech to the kids. It had to be in Japanese, so I got a friend to write it. Everyone clapped, thinking I had been lying over the past year about not speaking Japanese. Then one of the 3rd graders read a speech in English to me and they presented me with a big bunch of flowers. A little different to the speech I had to give at the party.

They put me up with a microphone and I had to get a drunken English teacher to translate. I thanked them all for a great year and being kind and friendly. Then they heckled me. The drunk Japanese people heckled me! They asked me which of the students I thought was most attractive. Bearing in mind that these kids are between the ages of 12-15, I declined to answer. They also asked who my favourite students were and that I was able to answer.

And then it was over. The party finished rather abruptly, as did my time at the school. All of a sudden I just stood up and told them I was going. The flowers were wilting in the stuffy staff room and I didn’t want to hang around doing nothing for one last afternoon – I get sentimental, but not that sentimental.

And now my holiday begins. Today has been relaxing so far – sorting out beds and tidying things up in a last ditch attempt to make my apartment presentable. Then tomorrow, we’re into Iwakuni to see the aforementioned bridge. Hiroshima on Monday and then on another plane to Okinawa on Tuesday. This will probably be my last blog entry for a while, but there’ll be a big update when I return from my final Japanese adventure.

Till next time!

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